Online / 5 & 6 February 2022


Are we being inclusive with our community recognitions?

Recognizing community members is one of the most enjoyable activities for community managers. It is a great opportunity to thank people for their work and highlight their contributions to the rest of the community. However, we need to evaluate if we’re truly being inclusive with our community recognitions. For example, when discussing contributors, we still see a lot of emphasis on the volume of contributions on project repositories (i.e., code) that some may find intimidating. This focus on code is partly because contributions on tools like GitHub and GitLab are easier to measure and quantify.

On the other hand, it can be more challenging to measure (or even notice) how much a community member is helping others on platforms like Discord, Matrix, Slack, etc. When someone helps a newcomer by answering a quick question in chat, it’s easy to miss that among other discussion threads. Even though it can be more challenging to quantify non-code contributions, it’s crucial to look beyond repositories to see how people are helping to improve our communities. In addition to contributions in chat-like platforms, this can include sharing their use cases, participating in meetups, providing honest feedback in 1-on-1 conversations, etc. Looking across a broad spectrum of contributions will help ensure that we recognize everyone regardless of their background, interests, and skillset.

Also, not everyone is comfortable with public recognition. Some may feel uncomfortable being in the spotlight or even think what they have done is not significant enough (sometimes I see this with contributors from underrepresented groups). In these instances, it is important to find ways to let them know that the community appreciates their work without putting them in an awkward position.

In this talk, Ray will share his experience identifying different contributions, community recognition examples (both good and bad), and feedback he received on community recognition programs. There will also be a discussion on how inclusive recognition is vital for strengthening the sense of belonging in the community.


Photo of Ray Paik Ray Paik